Sermon 2300. The Whole Gospel In A Single Verse
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, MARCH 19, 1893.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, FEBRUARY 28, 1889.
"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whomI am chief." 1 Timothy 1:15.
I SPOKE, yesterday, with a brother minister who had been a pastor in America, and I asked him why he was so anxious to goback again where the climate had so greatly tried him. He answered, "I love the people to whom I preach." "What sort of peopleare they?" I enquired. "Well," he replied, "they are a people who come together anxious to get good. They do not try to findfault with me, but they seek to get all the good they can out of the Gospel I preach." "Well," I said, "it is worth whilecrossing the ocean to go to a congregation of that sort of people." You know, dear Friends, how it is with some people, asit was with one friend to whom I spoke last Tuesday. God had blessed the Word to his soul and he was converted, but he hadbeen hearing me some time before and I said to him, "How was it, do you think, that during those other years that you camehere, you did not find the Savior?" "Oh, Sir!" he answered, "I am afraid it was because I came to hear you, and when I hadbeen here and heard you, I was quite satisfied. But when God taught me to come here to look for Christ, and to seek eternallife, then I obtained the blessing." Now, will you who are here, tonight, especially you who are not saved, try to hear mein that fashion, not noticing how I preach, because I do not care much about that, myself-and you need to care about it farless-but only to think what good can be got out of it? Let each hearer ask himself, "Is there anything of saving benefit tomy soul in what the preacher will say tonight?"
Now, this text contains the Gospel in brief, and yet I may say that it contains the Gospel in full. If you get condensed notesof a sermon or a speech, you often miss the very soul and marrow of it, but here you get all the condensation possible, asif the great Truths of the Gospel were pressed together by a hydraulic ram, and yet there is not a particle of it left out.It is one of the "little Bibles," as Luther used to call them-the Gospel in a verse. The essence of the whole Bible is here-"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whomI am chief."
I. Now I am going to be short upon each point and, therefore, I shall at once speak upon this first head. Here is OUR NAME,OR A BROAD WORD OF DESCRIPTION-"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." One of the most important questions thatcan be asked by any man is this, For whom is salvation meant? The answer we have is given by the Holy Spirit in the InspiredWord of God-"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.''"
Jesus Christ came to save sinners of all sorts. So long as you can come under the general description, "sinners," it mattersnot what shape your sin has taken. All men have, alike, sinned, and yet all have not sinned in the same way. They have allwandered the downward road and yet each one has gone a different way from all the rest. Christ Jesus came into the world tosave respectable sinners and disreputable sinners! He came into the world to save proud sinners and despairing sinners! Hecame into the world to save drunks, thieves, liars, whoremongers, adulterers, murderers and such! Whatever sort of sin thereis, this Word of God is wonderfully comprehensive and sweeping-"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners."
A black lot, a horrible crew, they are, and Hell is their due reward, but these are the people Jesus came to save. If thereare any people in the world who are not sinners, Jesus did not come to save them because such people do not want a Savior.If there are any of you who venture to say that you have never sinned, well then, you need not listen to me, for I have nothingto say to you, nor has this Book of God, except to tell you that you are under a grievous error and a great
delusion! There can be no mercy to a man who has committed no fault. Some time ago there was a man incarcerated for life foran offense he never committed and, when it was found out that he was not guilty, Her Majesty insulted him, I think, by givinghim "a free pardon." Why, he had never committed the crime for which he had suffered, poor Soul, and he had been a year, atleast, in confinement as a felon, though he was innocent! I think Her Majesty should have begged his pardon and given himlarge compensation. Pardon and mercy are not for innocent people-they are for the guilty! And the Lord Jesus Christ, therefore,came into the world, not to save the innocent, the righteous and the good-but to save sinners!
Notice, next, that Jesus came to save sinners without any other qualification. There is a habit which some have of qualifyingthe word, sinner, as we have it in the hymn-
"Come, humble sinner, in whose breast," and so on. I think the writer of that hymn put it-
"Come, tremblingsinner, in whose breast A thousand thoughts revolve."
But when Jesus Christ invites sinners, He does it after this fashion, "Come, sinners." "Christ Jesus came into the world tosave sinners." There is no adjective before the noun! There is no sort of qualification except that they are sinners.
Christ Jesus came to save hardened sinners, for He softens the heart. He came to save aggravated sinners, for He breaks theiron sinew of the neck and subdues the stubborn will. He came to save sinners who have no good thing in them. "If you haveany merit," said one to another, "if you have any good thing about you, it is like a drop of rose water in a sea of filth."But, truly, there is not even that one drop of rose water in our nature-nor need there be in order that Christ may save us!He came to save sinners-that is all Paul says. I dare not limit what is left unlimited. I dare not qualify what is left unqualified."Sinners"-that is all the Apostle says. What? If they have no trace of goodness, no mark of anything excellent? Yes. "ChristJesus came into the world to save sinners."
This means, also, that Christ Jesus came to save sinners in their pollution. Remember that sin is a very offensive thing.When conscience is really awakened to discover the pollution of sin, it is seen to be exceedingly sinful, a thing that istruly horrible. We are taught, in the Scriptures, even to hate the garments spotted by the flesh-and there is such a thingas a righteous indignation against sin. But the Lord Jesus Christ has come into the world to save the polluted, to save thoseagainst whom virtue gives her vote, to save those whom society expels! What a wonderful thing "society" is, itself rottento the core very often and yet, if there happens to be a poor woman who has gone astray, "society" cries, "Put her out! Drivethe wretched creature away from us." I have known one such turned out of hotel after hotel. They could not bear their righteousselves to come anywhere near to one who had in the least degree broken the laws of society!
But it was not so with Christ. Notwithstanding all His sense of the horror of sin-and it is much greater than our sense ofit, for His mind is sensitive because of its supreme purity-yet, notwithstanding that, He came into the world to save sinners!And with sinners He mixed, even with publicans and harlots! With sinners He sat at meat. With sinners He lived. With sinnersHe died! He made His grave with the wicked. He entered Paradise with a thief! And today, those who sing the new song in Heavenconfess that they were sinners, for they say, "You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every kindred,and tongue, and people, and nation." Yes, notwithstanding the pollution of sin, Christ came to save sinners!
He came, also, to save sinners under the curse. Sin is a cursed thing. God has never blessed sin and He never will do so.Though sin may seem to flourish, for a time, the blight of the Almighty is upon it-the breath of the great Judge of All willwither up everything that grows of evil. He cannot bear it-His fire shall burn, even to the lowest Hell, against all iniquity!And yet, though you are under the curse, Jesus Christ came into the world to save the accursed sinner by taking the curseupon Himself, and Himself hanging on the tree of the curse, and bearing the curse for us, that we might be saved! Do you feelthe curse of God in your spirit, tonight? Does it seem to dry up all the springs of your life? Then remember, notwithstandingthat, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners."
Once more, Christ came to save sinners without strength. Sin brings death. Wherever sin reigns, the power to do good diesout. "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may you, also, do good that are accustomed to do evil."But when you are without strength, ah, even without strength to believe on Him-without strength to feel your sin, withoutstrength to feel even a desire to be better-even then it is true that "Christ Jesus came into the world to
save sinners." I know He did, for the first good desires are His gift. The first prayers are His own breath. The first sighunder the burden of sin is His own work. Jesus does it all! He came into the world to save us. "When we were yet without strength,in due time Christ died for the ungodly," those in whom there could not be any trace of goodness-"the un-godly"-those whowere without God and without hope in the world. It is for such that Jesus Christ came into the world. I do not know how toset this gate open wider. I will take it right off its hinges and I will pull up post and bar and all and defy the very devilsof Hell to come and shut this City of Refuge against any soul, here, that is a sinner! If you have sinned, behold, the voiceof Everlasting Love speaks aloud to you, tonight, these words, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation,that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners."
II. I must not dwell long on any one word in our text, so I pass to another. In the second place, here is OUR NEED, OR A WIDEWORD OF SALVATION. We poor sinners need saving and, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners."
Jesus came to save. He did not come to condemn us. When God came down upon earth, it might have been thought that He musthave come to condemn, for when He came down to look at the tower of Babel, and saw the sin of the world, He scattered thesinners upon the face of all the earth. Now, it might be thought that if He came on earth, He would be shocked and horrifiedby a personal investigation of sin and then would say, "I will destroy the world." But Jesus said, "The Son of Man is notcome to destroy men's lives, but to save them." "God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world,through Him, might be saved." If you get condemnation out of the Gospel, you put the condemnation into it yourselves! It isnot the Gospel, but your rejection of it, that will condemn you. Therefore, I pray God that you may never put from you theWord of God and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, as they did to whom Paul and Barnabas preached at Antioch.
But, next, Christ did NOT come into the world to help us to save ourselves. He came to save us-not to set us on our legs andsay, "Now you do so much, and I will do the rest." No, He came to save us! From top to bottom salvation is all of Grace, andall the gift of God by Jesus Christ. He did not come into the world, I say, to make us salvable, but to save us-nor to putus in the way of somehow or other meriting salvation! He came, Himself, to be the Savior and to save sinners. Cannot you seethat you, who have been trying to spin a robe of righteousness, got all that you did in the day unraveled before night? Youwho have been knitting part of a garment to cover your nakedness, put your knitting needles down, and take what Christ hasfinished! Come, you who have been working hard, like prisoners on a treadmill, trying to get to Heaven that way, you willnever do it! See another ladder, like that which Jacob saw of old, that reaches from Heaven to earth, and from earth to Heaven,and may God enable you to climb to Him that way, but not by a way of your own! Jesus did not come to help us to save ourselves.
And He did not come to save us in part, that we might do the rest. It takes a long time to make some men know this. I knownumbers of Christian people who still have one foot on the rock, and the other foot on the sand. There is a certain, or rather,uncertain doctrine that always makes people feel unsafe. It is that you must not say that you are saved, but that if you holdon your way, and keep on the right road, then, perhaps, when you come to die, you may begin to hope that you are saved. Iwould not give two pence for such a Gospel as that! We need salvation given to us outright and given to us forever-and thisis what Christ does give us when we come and trust in Him. "He that believes on Him is not condemned." He is saved, then andthere, by the act of God. "He who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." He did notcome to save us in part.
And the Lord Jesus Christ has not come to make us content to be unsaved. I have sometimes heard people talk to the unconvertedlike this, "Now, you must wait. You must wait. You cannot do anything, therefore, sit still and wait until something happensto you." That is not the Gospel! The Gospel is, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved." Read the Biblethrough and learn what God has revealed there. Lay aside your own system and notion. You will not find that the Lord JesusChrist said to the man at Bethesda, "Now, lie at the pool till the angel comes and stirs it." That is old Judaism that doesthat! But Jesus said, "Rise, take up your bed, and walk." When Jesus speaks to sinners like that, they will rise and takeup their beds and walk!
Somebody says, "But you, poor minister that you are, cannot tell men to take up their beds and walk-and make them do it."Yes, we can, when our Master speaks through us, and when we deliver the Lord's message in faith, resting
on the power of the Holy Spirit! We can still be used by the Lord to work miracles. The dry bones are made to hear the voiceof the Lord's servant when the Holy Spirit goes with the voice and they are quickened by Divine power-
"The Gospel bids the dead revive,
Sinners obey the voice and live!
Dry bones are raised, and clothed afresh,
And hearts of stone are turned to flesh!" Again, I say, Jesus did not come to make sinners contented to be lost, or to sitdown and wait as if salvation did not concern them. No, He came to save sinners.
Well, what does it mean, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners? It means that He came to save them from thepunishment of their sin. Their sin shall not be laid to their charge so that they shall be condemned for it. That is one thing.He came, also, to save them from the pollution of their sin, so that, though their mind has been debased, and their tastedegraded, and their conscience deadened by sin, He came to take that evil away and give them a tender heart, a hatred of sin,a love for holiness and a desire for purity. But Jesus came to do more than that. He came to take away our tendencies to sin,tendencies which are born in us and grow with us. He came, by His Spirit, to eradicate them, to pluck them up by the roots,to put within us another principle which shall fight with the old principle of sin and overcome it- till Christ, alone, shallreign, and every thought shall be brought into captivity to Him. He came to save His people from apostasy. He came into theworld to save sinners by keeping them faithful to the end so that they shall not go back unto perdition-
"Yes, I to the end shall endure,
As sure as the earnest is given.
More happy, but not more secure,
The glorified spirits in Heaven." A very important part of the work of Grace is this. To start a man right is but little,but to keep that man holding on, even to the end-this is a triumph of Almighty Grace, and this is what Christ has come todo! Jesus came into the world, not to half save you, not to save you in this direction or that, and in this light or that,but to save you from your sin, to save you from an angry temper, to save you from pride, to save you from strong drink, tosave you from covetous-ness, to save you from every evil thing-and to present you faultless before the Presence of His Glorywith exceeding joy! This is a grand word, "Christ Jesus came into the word to save sinners." Oh, that you might believe it!I pray God that out of this congregation, which is wonderfully large for such a night, and yet small compared with our usualnumber on a Thursday evening, there may be very many who will say, "Yes, I believe that Jesus came to save sinners and I trustHim to save me." You will be saved the moment that you do that, for faith is the mark of His salvation, the proof that Hehas saved you!
III. But now, thirdly, there is a name here. We have had our own name, sinners. Now here is HIS NAME, OR A GLORIOUS WORD OFHONOR-"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." Christ Jesus! Not an angel, not the best of men, but Christ Jesus!
"Christ" means, as you know, Anointed, that is, God sent Him, anointed by His own Spirit, prepared, fitted, qualified andendowed for the work of saving. Jesus comes not without an anointing from God! He is not an amateur Savior, come on His ownaccount, without any commission or authority, but God has anointed Him in order that He may save sinners. When He went intothe synagogue at Nazareth on the Sabbath, He applied to Himself the words of the Prophet Elijah, "The Spirit of the Lord isupon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preachdeliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach theacceptable year of the Lord."
The other part of His name is "Jesus," that is, Savior. He has come, therefore, to be the Anointed Savior, commissioned tobe a Savior, and if He is not a Savior, (I say it with all reverence), He is nothing! He came into the world to save and ifHe does not save, He has missed His mark! He laid His heavenly Glories down to take this still higher Glory, that He mightbe the Savior of sinners. The angels sang concerning Him, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towardmen." And the angel of the Lord said to Joseph-"You shall call His name, Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins."Beloved, notice this-the Savior of sinners is not the Virgin Mary-saints are not saviors, but, "God so loved the world, thatHe gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have
everlasting life." Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, "very God of very God," the Creator of all things, sustainingall things by the word of His power. He came into the world, to Bethlehem's manger and afterwards to Calvary's Cross, withthis as His one business-that He might save sinners! Is He not able to save? Is He not just the Savior that we need? God andyet Man in one Person! He is able to sympathize because He is Man, and He is able to save because He is God! Blessed God-Man,Jesus Christ, only You are able to save me!
I cannot dwell longer on that part of my theme, but I wish that you who are seeking salvation would let your thoughts dwellupon it until you have truly trusted Him as your Savior.
IV. The fourth thing in the text is HIS DEED, OR A SURE WORD OF FACT. "Christ Jesus came into the world."
We have not to look to what He will do to save sinners, for He has done it!
He came into the world. He existed long before He came out of Heaven into this world. He was in the beginning with God andHe came here. You and I began our existence here, but He existed from the beginning! In the Glory of the Father and in thefullness of time He came into the world. He came willingly. It is put so in our text-"Christ Jesus came into the world." Thereis a kind of voluntariness evident in the words. He was sent, for He is the Christ, the Messiah, but He came of His own freewill-
"Down from the shining seats above, With joyful haste He fled."
He came into the world. I say, again, the salvation of sinners is not a thing to be accomplished in the future. If God hadpromised it, we might trust as Abraham did, when He saw Christ's day afar off and was glad, but Jesus has come-He has beenhere-God Almighty has been here in human form, dwelling among men! He came into the world to save sinners.
He came into the world so far that He knew the world's griefs and bore them, the world's penalty, the world's shame and reproach,the world's sickness and the world's death. He came into the world, into the very center and heart of this ungodly world,and there He dwelt, "holy, harmless, and undefiled."
Christ Jesus came into the world and when He came here, it was such a wonderful coming that He stayed here. Some 33 yearsHe was here and all that while He was still seeking to save sinners. During the last three years He went about doing good,always hunting up sinners-and at the end of His service for sinners He stretched out His hands and feet, and yielded up Himselfto die for sinners. He breathed out His very soul for sinners. "Who His own Self bore our sins in His own body on the tree."
I do not feel that I have any need to find any words of mine to try to garnish this Gospel of the Glory of the Blessed God.It is the greatest theme on which a man ever spoke! It needs no oratory to set it forth! The story, itself, is marvelous,"the old, old story of Jesus and His love." God could not in justice pass over human sin without an atonement, but He madethe Atonement, Himself! Jesus, who is One with the Father, came here and offered Himself as a Sacrifice that He might savesinners.
Now, if He does not save sinners, His coming here is a failure. Do you believe, can you imagine, that Christ's coming intothe world could be a failure? In my very soul I believe that all He meant to accomplish by His coming here He will accomplish-thatno man shall ever be able to point to any failure in this grandest of Divine enterprises! There is no failure in Creation-therewill be no failure in Providence! And when the whole story is ended, there will be no failure in this great work of Redemption!"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners," and sinners shall be saved. Will you be among them, my dear Hearer? Whyshould you not be among them?
V. Once more. We have here, in the fifth place, OUR ACCEPTANCE, OR A WORD OF PERSONALITY. The
Apostle says, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief." I am not going to dispute with the Apostleand yet, if he were here, I should be a little dubious as to his right to the title of, "chief of sinners," and I would askhim whether, if he were chief, I was not the next. I suppose that there are many here who would say, "Paul sinned no moregrievously than we did before our conversion." I remember, in preaching once, I said that if I ever got to Heaven, those lineswould be true of me-
"Then loudest of the crowd I'll sing, While Heaven's resounding mansions ring, With shouts of Sovereign Grace."
When I had done preaching, a lady met me in the aisle and she said, "You made one mistake in your sermon." "Oh, dear Heart!"I replied, "I daresay I made twenty." She said, "But the one you made was this. You said that you would sing the loudest whenyou got to Heaven-but you will not. When I get there, I shall owe more to the Grace of God than you will-you have not beensuch a sinner as I have been." Well, I found all the other saints around us were of a mind to contest about which should praiseGod most because of the great things He had done for them in saving their souls! Ralph Erskine wrote a hymn about the contentionamong the birds of paradise as to which should praise God best, and he describes the different kinds of people in Heaven allvying with each other in magnifying the name of the Lord who had redeemed them! But that is not my theme just now.
When we come and appropriate this sinner's Savior, we do it, first, by a confession. "Lord, I am a sinner. I know it. I mournover it. I confess to You that I have broken Your righteous Law." Then there follows, on that confession, a sense of humiliation.Did Jesus come into the world to save me? Then I am a greater sinner than I thought I was, first, that I should need the Sonof God to save me and, next, that I should sin against love so amazing, so surprising, as to rebel against One who would comeinto the world to save me! The more we appreciate Christ's saving sinners, the more we depreciate ourselves. He who has agreat Savior will feel himself to be a great sinner. And he who has the best and clearest view of Christ is the man who willsay, "Of whom-namely, of the saved sinners-I am chief."
Now, this appropriation of Christ, which began with confession and went on to deep self-humiliation, flowers into faith, because,notice, the Apostle says, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief." Though he says that he ischief of them, yet he means, also, "I am one of those He came to save." "Of whom I am chief." "Oh, yes, I am one of thosehe came to save!" Faith enables the soul to say that. My dear Friends, I do trust that, by the Grace of God, many of you willsay that, tonight. "Lord Jesus, I trust in You. Of the multitude that You did come to save, who are described as sinners,I am one."
This appropriation of Christ by faith will go on to open confession of Him. The Apostle confesses that, while he was the chiefof sinners, yet Christ died for him, and you will be led to make that confession. I hope that you will do it as our friendsare going to do it tonight-by obedience to Christ's Law in Baptism, as He bids you, "He that believes and is baptized, shallbe saved."
One thing I notice about my text which greatly delights me. Paul says, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,of whom I am chief." No, no, Paul, that expression will not do! Why, my dear Man, you are a scholar, and yet you have madea mistake in the tense of the verb! It is not sum, "I am," but fui, "I was." "No, no," says Paul, "never bring your Latinin here. My Greek expression is, 'I am chief.'" "What? After being saved, after being forgiven, still are you chief of sinners?""Yes," he says, "it is so." And it is possible for a man to be not a whit behind the very chief of the Apostles and yet tofeel that, in putting his whole life together, he has to take his place among the sinners, yes, at the head of them, as thechief of sinners!
I think I told you that I once tried the plan, which some of our Brothers and Sisters try, of praying to God as a saint. Why,I have seen some of our Brethren, when they have had a Sunday out, with their best go-to-meeting clothes on, talk about theirbeing perfect, and they looked exactly like the peacock I saw with his tail spread out, strutting along so grandly! Well,I rather liked the look of that fine show-there was something very beautiful in it-so I tried it, myself, once. I went toGod in prayer boasting about my virtues, my attainments, my growth in His Grace and my service for Him. I think that I haveas good a right to do that as anybody else has. I have served God with all my might and I have laid everything at His feet.But when I tried to pray that way, I knocked at the gate and nobody came! I knocked again, but nobody came. There is a littlewicket, you know, that they open, just to look out to see who is there. So they asked, "Who is that knocking?" I answered,"Oh, it is a saint! It is one who has grown in Grace until he is perfectly sanctified, one who has preached the Gospel formany years."
They just shut the gate at once-they did not know anything about me in that capacity! So I stood there and got nothing. Atlast, broken-hearted and full of grief, I knocked again with all my might, and when they asked, "Who is there?" I said, "Hereis a poor sinner who has often come to Christ in that capacity, and has taken Him to be his whole righteousness and salvation,and he has come, again, just as he used to come." "Ah!" they said, "it is you, is it? We have known you for many years! Youare always welcome." I found that I had access to my God when I said, "I am the chief of sinners. I am still a sinner."
Well, now, putting myself in that position where I always must be and always hope to be, I would say to any sinner here, whoeveryon may be, come, Friend, come along with me to the Cross! One says, "But I cannot go with you. You have been a minister ofthe Gospel these 30 years and more." My dear Friend, I am still a poor sinner and I have to look to Christ every day as Idid at the very first. Come along with me! Come along with me! It is many, many years since, on a snowy morning, I lookedto Him and was lightened. I wish that, this snowy night, some soul here would look to Him and live!
I had much more to say, but the time has gone, so I just leave you with my text, "Christ Jesus came into the world to savesinners." It is a blessed proverb, an Apostolic proverbial saying-but it is a true saying-"It is a faithful saying." Everybodywho has tried it has found it true! It is worthy of the acceptation of you all, and it is worthy of all the acceptation thatany one of you can give to it. You may come and trust your soul on it for time and for eternity! You may come with all yourburden of sin upon your shoulders. You may come with all your need of feeling, with all your hardness of heart and just takeas your Savior this Jesus Christ who came into the world to save sinners! Only trust Him and when you have trusted Him, youhave done much more than you dream. Some people think that there is nothing in faith, but God is pleased with it and, "withoutfaith it is impossible to please God." If God is pleased with it, there is a great deal more in it than some imagine! Thatfaith contains within itself a future life of holiness! It is the one acorn out of which countless forests will yet grow!
Believe! May the Lord help you to believe in Jesus immediately! Ere you leave this place, trust Him! Trust Him wholly. Hecame to save sinners. Let Him save you! It is His business-it is not yours. Leave yourself in His hands and He will save you,to the praise of the glory of His Grace.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON. 1 TIMOTHY 1:1-17.
Verse 1. Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope. Christis our hope. We have not a shadow of a hope apart from Him. I remember, when on the Continent, seeing on a cross the words,"Spes unica," the unique, the only hope of man-and that is true of the Cross of Christ, and of Christ who suffered on it.He is our hope!
2. Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. Notice theApostle's triple salutation, "Grace, mercy, and peace." Whenever Paul writes to a Church, he wishes "Grace and peace." Butto a minister he wishes, "grace, mercy, and peace." Ah, we need mercy more than the average of Christians! We have greaterresponsibilities and, consequently, might more readily fall into greater sin-so to a minister Paul's salutation is, "Grace,mercy, and peace."
3, 4. As I besought you to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that you might charge some that they teachno other doctrine, neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifyingwhich is in faith: so do. You see, the Apostle, in his day, had to contend against those who ran away from the simplicityof the Gospel into all manner of fables and inventions. Such, in our day, are the doctrine of evolution, the doctrine of theuniversal fatherhood of God, the doctrine of post-mortem salvation, the doctrine of the final restitution of all men, andall sorts of fables and falsehoods which men have invented!
5-7. Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: from,which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the Law; understanding neitherwhat they say, nor of which they affirm. There were some who put the Law of God into its wrong place. They made it a way ofsalvation-which it never was meant to be, and never can be. It is a way of conviction! It is an instrument of humbling! Itshows us the evil of sin, but it never takes sin away.
8. But we know that the Law is good, if a man uses it lawfully. In its own place it has its own uses, and these are most important.
9-13. Knowing this, that the Law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly andfor sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers,for them that defile themselves with mankind, for men-stealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there is any other
thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; according to the glorious Gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; whowas before a blasphemer. Paul must have written this verse with many tears. What a wonder of Divine Grace it was that he shouldbe put into the sacred ministry, to bear testimony for Christ, when he had been, before, a blasphemer!
13. And a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. He almost thought thatif he had done all this willfully, he might not have been forgiven, but he felt that, here, God spied out the only extenuatingcircumstance, namely, that he was mistaken-"I did it ignorantly, in unbelief."
14, 15. And the Grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithfulsaying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am, chief. He spokefrom his heart, from deep experience. This, indeed, was, to him, the glorious Gospel of the blessed God that had saved him,the very chief of sinners! He could, therefore, with confidence commend it to others as worthy of all acceptation.
16. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a patternto them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting. The case of Paul is not a singular one-it is the patternone. If there are any here who feel that they have sinned like Saul of Tarsus, they may be forgiven like Paul the Apostle!He is a pattern to all who should thereafter believe in Christ to life everlasting! Just as we often see things cut out inbrown paper and sold as patterns, so is the Apostle Paul the pattern convert! What God did for him, He can do for thousandsof others.
17. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. Paul couldnot help this outburst of praise! He must put in a doxology. When he remembered his own conversion and pardon, and his beingentrusted with the ministry of the Gospel, he was obliged to put down his pen and lift up his voice in grateful thanksgivingto God. So may it be with us as we remember what great things the Lord has done for us!